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U.S. Warns Kabul Over Prisoner Release

Prisoners stand in line for release during a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities at the U.S. air base north of Kabul in March 2013.
The United States has warned the Afghan government against releasing prisoners that Washington says should be tried as dangerous militants.

Speaking on January 27 to reporters in Washington, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said the Afghan government had directed the Afghan Review Board to release 37 detainees.

Warren said some had links to the production of or attacks using improvised bombs. Others, Warren said, were suspected of involvement in attacks on Afghan or foreign soldiers.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said he would be concerned if the prisoners were released for political reasons.

Abdul Shukur Dadras, a member of a government committee reviewing detainees at the Parwan Detention Center outside Kabul, said on January 27 that the 37 detainees would be released due to lack of evidence.

The U.S. military in Afghanistan condemned what it called the release of "dangerous insurgents who have blood on their hands."

The facility, near the Bagram air base, was the main detention center housing suspected Taliban insurgents captured by Western military forces until the facility was transferred to Afghan control in 2013.

Dadras said the 37 detainees will be released in the next two weeks, while a review of 51 remaining prisoners continues.

Analyst say the fate of the prisoners is the latest issue to trouble relations between Washington and Kabul as the Obama administration presses Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a security pact that would authorize U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

Based on Reuters and Radio Free Afghanistan reporting